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What Is the Best Insulator: Air, Styrofoam, Foil or Cotton?

That heat flows from hot to cold is an unavoidable truth of life. People have put a lot of effort into stopping this natural physical behavior, however all they have been able to do is slow the proces... ...moreThat heat flows from hot to cold is an unavoidable truth of life. People have put a lot of effort into stopping this natural physical behavior, however all they have been able to do is slow the process. Student teams investigate the properties of insulators in their attempts to keep cups of water from freezing, and once frozen, to keep them from melting. ...less 
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Activity 
5448 
What to Wear? What to Drink? Weather Patterns and Climatic Regions

How does our climate affect us? How do we decide what to wear each day? What factors determine if our clothing choices are comfortable? What is the source of our water? Students explore characteristic... ...moreHow does our climate affect us? How do we decide what to wear each day? What factors determine if our clothing choices are comfortable? What is the source of our water? Students explore characteristics that define climatic regions. They learn how tropical, desert, coastal and alpine climates result in different lifestyle, clothing, water source and food options for the people who live there. They learn that a location's latitude, altitude, land features, weather conditions, and distance from large bodies of water, determines its climate. Students discuss how engineers help us adapt to all climates by designing clothing, shelters, weather technologies and clean water systems. ...less 
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Lesson 
4643 
Designing Bridges

Students learn about the types of possible loads, how to calculate ultimate load combinations, and investigate the different sizes for the beams (girders) and columns (piers) of simple bridge design. ... ...moreStudents learn about the types of possible loads, how to calculate ultimate load combinations, and investigate the different sizes for the beams (girders) and columns (piers) of simple bridge design. Students learn the steps that engineers use to design bridges: understanding the problem, determining the potential bridge loads, calculating the highest possible load, and calculating the amount of material needed to resist the loads. ...less 
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Lesson 
4634 
Strength of Materials

Students learn about the variety of materials used by engineers in the design and construction of modern bridges. They also find out about the material properties important to bridge construction and ... ...moreStudents learn about the variety of materials used by engineers in the design and construction of modern bridges. They also find out about the material properties important to bridge construction and consider the advantages and disadvantages of steel and concrete as common bridgebuilding materials to handle compressive and tensile forces. ...less 
8 (68) 
Lesson 
3691 
Do Different Colors Absorb Heat Better?

Students test whether the color of a material affects how much heat it absorbs. They leave ice cubes placed in boxes made of colored paper (one box per color; white, yellow, red and black) in the sun,... ...moreStudents test whether the color of a material affects how much heat it absorbs. They leave ice cubes placed in boxes made of colored paper (one box per color; white, yellow, red and black) in the sun, and predict in which colored box ice cubes melt first. They record the order and time required for the ice cubes to melt. ...less 
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Activity 
3624 
Straw Bridges

Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a t... ...moreWorking as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a truss pattern of their own design, while meeting the design criteria and constraints. They experiment with different geometric shapes and determine how shapes affect the strength of materials. Let the competition begin! ...less 
8 (68) 
Activity 
3605 
Earthquake in the Classroom

Students learn how engineers construct buildings to withstand damage from earthquakes by building their own structures with toothpicks and marshmallows. Students test how earthquakeproof their buildings are by testing them on an earthquake simulated in a pan of JellO®. 
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Activity 
3444 
The Science of Swinging

Students learn what a pendulum is and how it works in the context of amusement park rides. While exploring the physics of pendulums, they are also introduced to Newton's first law of motion — about continuous motion and inertia. 
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Lesson 
3048 
Engineering: Simple Machines

Simple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier. Students are introduced to the six types of simple machines — the wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, ... ...moreSimple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier. Students are introduced to the six types of simple machines — the wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw, and pulley — in the context of the construction of a pyramid, gaining highlevel insights into tools that have been used since ancient times and are still in use today. In two handson activities, students begin their own pyramid design by performing materials calculations, and evaluating and selecting a construction site. The six simple machines are examined in more depth in subsequent lessons in this unit. ...less 
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Lesson 
2982 
Building Roller Coasters

Students build their own smallscale model roller coasters using pipe insulation and marbles, and then analyze them using physics principles learned in the associated lesson. They examine conversions ... ...moreStudents build their own smallscale model roller coasters using pipe insulation and marbles, and then analyze them using physics principles learned in the associated lesson. They examine conversions between kinetic and potential energy and frictional effects to design roller coasters that are completely driven by gravity. A class competition using different marbles types to represent different passenger loads determines the most innovative and successful roller coasters. ...less 
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Activity 
2715 
